“I couldn’t see and they held my hands over my head,” he told reporters.
Who detained Pettibone? Nobody’s saying, and the Marshals Service appear to have disavowed the encounter.
Not identifying the agency is far, far worse. There is zero accountability; no process for tracking abuses. It all but guarantees excesses.
It’s not the first time Trump has deployed federal forces against protesters. For his infamous bible photo-op near the White House last month, in which peaceful protesters were forcefully dispersed using concussion grenades, pepper spray and swinging batons, he used agents from the Bureau of Prisons, Park Police and others.
Unaccountable, unidentified security operations are a favorite practice of dictators with questionable intentions.
The Department of Homeland Security, created after 9/11 to protect the country from external threats, has been seemingly enlisted by Trump to bolster his presidential campaign. And the President appears to be yearning for a fight, hoping for street battles so he can claim to be the one who can put them down, so he can argue — as he does in his commercials — that a victory for Democrats will put anarchists and socialists in power. That’s a laughable claim, but he’s going with it.
This is far from over. Acting US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan, calling the demonstrators, “criminals,” flashed a dark glimpse of Trump’s playbook on Fox News Thursday, that should concern all Americans who cherish the freedom to exercise their Constitutionally protected First Amendment rights.
Trump thinks images of chaos and violence will help him. How far is he willing to go? Stay tuned.